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Winnipeg-based ventilator company extra busy in face of COVID-19

FILE PHOTO: Gauges to regulate oxygen on a ventilator are seen at a lab run by the University Health Network in Toronto, Ontario, Canada May 24, 2019.
FILE PHOTO: Gauges to regulate oxygen on a ventilator are seen at a lab run by the University Health Network in Toronto, Ontario, Canada May 24, 2019. REUTERS/Chris Helgren/File Photo

A Winnipeg company that sells ventilators and manufactures ventilator parts has been extra busy during the coronavirus crisis, trying to fill orders for the high-demand equipment, as well as working on their own in-house developments.

BomiMed owner David Olivier told 680 CJOB his company has provided ventilation equipment to intensive care and anesthesia departments at hospitals across Canada for 35 years.

Olivier said BomiMed sells high-quality Swiss ventilators across Canada from the company’s head office in Winnipeg.

“We also manufacture tubing and components and parts and pieces and we make up patients’ (breathing) circuits,” he said.

“We actually make the breathing circuit itself here in Winnipeg.”

Olivier said in addition to making sure their regular allotment of ventilators get out the door, sent all over Canada, BomiMed has also modified the breathing circuit specifically for the coronavirus crisis.

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The company manufactures a lot of anesthesia breathing circuits, he said, but during the pandemic, anesthesia supplies are likely to run low, and many hospitals won’t even use it when treating COVID-19 patients.

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“We use the same tubing and just change the configurations,” he said. “We’re adding filters and things like that.

“The circuits we’re going to provide for the ICUs for these ventilators are ones that really protect the ventilator from the patient, and protect the clinicians, the respiratory therapists, the nurses and the doctors from the patient.

“It’s something we can put on our robotic system, so it makes it fast.”

“It’s really got us running because we’ve had to change the way we’re thinking.”

READ MORE: Mask shortage ‘like sending someone to a forest fire with a water pistol’: nurses union

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Manitoba is one of many provinces struggling with a dearth of essential equipment.

The Manitoba Nurses Union said Thursday that a limited supply of N95 masks means Manitoba’s frontline health-care staff aren’t adequately protected during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Nurses are very concerned for their own health, for the health of their co-workers and their patients. If we start losing frontline providers to this virus, this system’s going to fall apart,” union head Darlene Jackson told 680 CJOB.

The Province of Manitoba has reached out to businesses to help manufacture much-needed safety equipment.

Click to play video 'Winnipeg pharmacies, businesses seeing shortages of hand santizers and face masks' Winnipeg pharmacies, businesses seeing shortages of hand santizers and face masks
Winnipeg pharmacies, businesses seeing shortages of hand santizers and face masks